Black Butte XXVI | Deschutes Brewery

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Black Butte XXVIBlack Butte XXVI
1,108 Ratings
Black Butte XXVIBlack Butte XXVI

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: American Imperial Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our 26th anniversary Imperial Porter was aged in bourbon barrels (50% for 6 months) and dry spiced with Theo Chocolate's cocoa nibs, revealing hints of vanilla and chocolate. Pomegranate molasses and Oregon cranberries complement the robust flavor with a hint of fruit and just enough tart to make you smile.

Added by StoutSnob40 on 06-05-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,108 |  Reviews: 197
Reviews by kustard:
Photo of kustard
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

More User Reviews:
Photo of BEERchitect
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%

In twenty-six years of playing with porter, imagination and creativity run amuck as elements of pomegranate and cranberry add tangy balance and curriosity to its imperial toasted taste.

Just off of black, its onyx austere is capped with a whipped mocha froth that sturdily holds onto the snifter during the patient session. With strong coffee, chocolate and burnt toast hovering above, the tangy berry-like scent is highlighted by the tingle of booze.

Its full and deeply penetrating taste is of wonderfully burnt sugars, leading with molasses, cocoa and latte. With earthen elements of coffee, soil, smoldering embers and burnt bread seeping into the mouth; the brilliant vibrancy of cranberry, pomegranate and seemingly cherry bounce off the tongue with its acidic balance.

Bittered with earthy coffee and campfire, a burnt pinecone taste pulls from the ash and achieves a slight semblance of dryness with spicy curracao liquor and spiced rum to finish and echoes of chocolate covered cherries to return in aftertaste.

 1,023 characters

Photo of LambicPentameter
4.39/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed out of a 22 oz brown bomber with that distinctive black wax enclosing the neck and crown. In fact, I'm pretty sure my bottle got a double-dip of wax, as it was quite difficult to remove. Marked with a "best after" date of 6/16/15, but I'll be the judge of that myself, thank you very much. Poured into an 33 oz oversized snifter.

Appearance (4.5) - Pours a dark rich brown-black color that isn't quite as viscous or thick as I would have imagined. When held up to the light, there are hints of cola brown on the edges of the glass, but otherwise, it might as well be as black as the wax on the neck. Atop the body sits a healthy finger and a half head of brown sugar colored foam, frothy in consistency. Retention is moderate, hanging out for a bit before shrinking down to a thick film of bubbles across the surface of the liquid. Lacing is mostly nonexistent.

Smell (4.25) - Really nice aroma, although not quite as intoxicating as I was hoping. It could be a little richer, but at this point I'm nitpicking. The smells of dark roasted malt, baker's chocolate and licorice waft out of the glass at first blush, setting the table with the aromatic profiles that are often part of the base beer. However, it quickly becomes apparent that there is more going on here, with light fruit tartness from the cranberries and a slightly richer sweetness from the pomegranate molasses. There is also a vein of vanilla and boozy heat intertwined with the roasted and fruity aromas.

Taste (4.5) - Oh man, what contributed to points of interest in the aroma have become full on features in the taste. The added fruit elements work to kick up the notes of licorice and now seem to bring about the impression of fig and other dark fruits. The cranberry tartness that I detected in the aroma hasn't become a full-fledged tartness in the taste, but much to my enjoyment, it instead adds depth to the roasted notes of bitter chocolate and burnt toast, and blends quite well with the vanilla and oak from the barrel aging. The only complaint I have is that I expected to get a little more bourbon based on the heat I smelled, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with a deftly subtle touch with the barrel.

Mouthfeel (4.0) - Here is really the only real issue I have with the beer. The body is moderate to full, when I would have hoped for a full body, especially given the limited barrel contribution to the blend. The carbonation is moderate and spot on, so really I just with there was a bit more meat to the texture.

Overall (4.5), this is another great entry in the Black Butte anniversary series. I'm having a hard time remembering my feelings for XXV when fresh, but this one is certainly close to it's equal. I love the fact that the pomegranate molasses provides a fruity sweetness that seems ideally suited to blend with the roasty flavors of the porter, while the cranberries provide just a bit of brightness as a complement. It was surprisingly easy to down an entire bottle of this myself during the course of a movie. I'll certainly be excited to see how this one drinks once it hits its prime in a year (if I can hold off on opening more between now and then).

 3,171 characters

Photo of Riff
4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with about a half finger of light tan head. Smells of chocolate, dark fruit, bourbon, and molasses. Tastes of dark fruit, raisins and cranberries specifically, hints of bourbon, chocolate towards the finish. Drinks easily, certainly doesn't feel like it's ABV. Interesting beer, fruity but solid. Certainly worth having tried.

 351 characters

Photo of akrz47
4.56/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At this point you should be noticing the reviews from the last month, as that's the recommended drink-by date. And notice how high they are. That's why I logged on to rate this.

Deschutes must really know what they're talking about. Fresh, this beer kinda sucked. Just unbalanced, tart, cloying, slightly boozy, just...not good. One year later, and *bam*! This is freakin' great! All those unbalanced flavors melded perfectly. I looooove this. The pomegranates just mix with the chocolate to make a thick dessert. I expect this will get even better over time, as the tartness mellows and creates more decadence. Can't wait.

 638 characters

Photo of maximum12
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%

Picked up a bottle because, well, the days of me grabbing all the Black Butte Anni bottles I could find are in the past...though I hope not. Not since the XXIII has one overwhelmed me with the happies. I'm hoping this one does, though the 'cranberries' on the label leaves me less hopeful. 22 oz. black-waxed bottle split with my wife.

Pour is dense black, low carb. Nose doesn't blow at all, rich with chocolate all over the dena. Otherwise, quiet quiet.

Black Butte XXVI doesn't restore the line to its glory, but doesn't Michael Buble' it either. Nice shot of roast, big chocolate notes, with the barrel coming on-line shortly after to add some drying vanilla lumber. Molasses & malty sweetness slips into the mid-palate, then what is - must be, though I can't quite experience taste via The Google, yet - pomegranate. Cranberries are a thankfully distant (& unwelcome) relative. Nice & thick, as always, & there appears to be a hole in my glass.

A very good beer that puts this series back on the right track. But, Deschutes? I've loved a lot of your beers over the years, like, Magic Johnson-level love. So I say this with all due respect: quit putting bloody fucking fruit in Black Butte. Pretty please?

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Photo of lochraneg
3.84/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Look: Great color and head upon pouring
Smell: Fruit aromas, cocoa
Taste: Fruit is overwhelming. Ruined any other flavor in the beer
Feel: Good body and the flavor lingers
Overall: Wouldn't seek out again. Too much fruit flavor

 233 characters

Photo of don1481
4.31/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into snifter.

Appearance: So, so dark. Pours an off white head with a slightly reddish tinge to it that lingers and leaves a heavy lacing on the side of the glass.

Smell: The pomegranate and cranberries dominate the nose here, with a hint of the cacao nibs.

Taste: More mellow than I expected. Definitely get the pomegranate, cranberries, and cacao. Not really getting any of the barrel aging. Which is fine.

Mouthfeel: Slightly sticky.

Overall: Glad I have two more of these to age. I like it.

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Photo of DanGeo
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Smokesnotes
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of t2grogan
5/5  rDev +20.5%

Photo of OhioBobcat
4.52/5  rDev +8.9%

Photo of CavemanRamblin
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of Tiernan
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of tbryan5
4.09/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I thought this beer was good and not great. A little thin and left me wanting more barrel chracter but I definitely picked up on the chocolate, pomegranate molasses, and cranberries.

 182 characters

Photo of SanFranJake
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of Bitzer
3.92/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of Ben7773
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of AshlandNacho
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of sabitu
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of seantall
5/5  rDev +20.5%

Photo of freshflesh
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque, deep and rich brown color with a dusting of a light tan head that quickly fades.
The aroma is loaded with dark chocolate, dark fruit, pomegranate, fig and roasted coffee.
It's a layered and complex taste. Bitter dark chocolate up front with a little of the pomegranate showing through along with dark fruits and almost-burnt coffee. The finish is a long-lasting dark chocolate coating the tongue. A little bit of tartness hiding in there as well (the cranberry I assume).
The mouthfeel is medium and smooth.
Just straight up fabulous.

 551 characters

Photo of Kappakoosh
4.39/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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Black Butte XXVI from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 1,108 ratings